Friday Offcuts 2 October 2020
As part of the push for wood producers to better understand their carbon footprint, a methodology for carbon estimation and target-setting for the Australian timber industry has just been developed by an Australian company, Edge Environment. It includes a set of tools and resources which will enable carbon emissions to be estimated and a carbon reduction target to be set that’s aligned to climate science. A report on the project, a link to the new resources and information on a series of on-line webinars planned this month are detailed in this week’s issue.
We’ve also included details of one of Australia’s largest wood products companies, Timberlink, and the steps that they’ve taken to measure their own carbon footprint and set their own SBT’s. The exercise has provided not only measures “how much carbon” but also what’s driving their emissions. It’s the first for the industry in either Australia or New Zealand. The company, along with other major global forest products companies like Mondi and Stora Enso, have recognised that in addition to reducing its own carbon emissions, the business case for setting targets for the company also really stacks up.
We’ve also got an update this week on the "Buy Aussie Timber First" (BATF) framing campaign that started three months ago. Hot on the heels of the devastating bushfires and amidst the chaos of COVID lockdowns, the industry recognised the importance of encouraging support for Aussie timber products and local manufacturing. Buy local - it’s being picked up now by customers right across the supply chain. Both digital and print advertising have been successful with more than 500,000 online advertising impressions reported across a broad range of internet sites to date. The plan is to continue with the BATF campaign for another three months at this stage.
And finally, registrations continue to pour in for this year’s ForestTECH 2020 event running on 18-19 November, both for those traveling through to Rotorua, New Zealand and for the many signing up to the new on-line coverage being provided for the first time this year. For those planning to be in Rotorua, remember, early-bird discounted registrations close in just one week, on Friday 9 October. Also, three practical workshops have been set up before and after the event (at no additional cost for ForestTECH 2020 delegates) for those attending the ForestTECH 2020 conference and exhibitions. For two of the workshops, spaces are limited and are being filled on a first-in- first-served basis. So, that’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
A call to wood manufacturers for carbon actionA briefing note has just been produced that outlines the need for Australian wood product manufacturers to take action on climate change. The note is supported by the launch of a bespoke tool and guide to help manufactures measure, monitor and reduce their carbon emissions, available on the NIFPI website.
The briefing note outlines two key steps, including 1) calculating the carbon footprint of wood product manufacturing and 2) setting science-based targets to achieve carbon reductions in line with internationally agreed ambitions. It also explores the broader context around climate change and outlines the growing importance of and demand for low-carbon suppliers and products.
According to the World Green Building Council (2019), buildings account for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions. Approximately 28% of these emissions derive from operational emissions (energy needed for heating, cooling and power) and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.
In the past, sustainable building design has focused on reducing carbon emissions from its operations. However, as strategies to reduce operational emissions mature, carbon from processes to manufacture materials will be much more important. Known as embodied carbon, these emissions represent the next frontier in combatting climate change.
In fact, the World Green Building Council’s vision is that by 2030, all new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have at least 40% less embodied carbon with significant upfront carbon reduction, and all new buildings must be net zero operational carbon. By 2050, new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have net zero embodied carbon, and all buildings, including existing buildings, must be net zero operational carbon.
Within the ever-evolving landscape and growing demand for low-carbon solutions, the Australian wood manufacturing sector has the opportunity to lead. By undertaking a carbon foot-printing exercise and setting Science Based Targets, wood suppliers will be able to meet growing demand for low-carbon solutions and differentiate from alternative materials.
The project participants are calling on wood product manufacturers and the wider timber industry to understand their carbon footprint. A carbon footprint documents the total greenhouse gas emissions that a company is responsible for, including its activities and its value chain. A carbon footprint provides not only a measure of “how much carbon”, but also what is driving emissions, with a view to inform strategies to reduce the company’s contribution to climate change.
The project participants are calling on wood product manufacturers and the wider timber industry to set carbon reduction targets aligned to the climate science. Science-Based Targets (SBTs) provide companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
A footprint and target-setting tool is available for download on the NIFPI website, along with a guide on how to take action. Additional training webinars will also be provided and hosted by Edge Environment in mid-October. Webinar 1 will focus on an overview of industry drivers and project outcomes, while Webinar 2 will provide a training on how to use the carbon footprint and target-setting tool. Please contact Maisie Auld, project manager and Head of Carbon & Climate Resilience at Edge Environment, ( email@example.com) for the webinar link, more information or to get involved.
For more information, please click here
Source: Edge Environment
Buy Aussie Timber First campaign hits the markThe people and faces supporting the Buy Aussie Timber First (BATF) framing campaign come from across Australia and all along the supply chain from foresters to carpenters! Campaign spokesperson, Gavin Matthew from the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), stated that “showing support for Aussie timber products and local manufacturing really matters right now.
It makes a real difference and is such a positive for Aussie timber processing employees, the majority who live in regional Australia, to see the support of customers all along the supply chain, from fabrication plants, wholesalers, timber merchants to our newest supporters – apprentice carpenters.”
The BATF campaign has now been running for 3 months and is planned to run another 3 months. Both digital and print advertising have been very successful to date in building support and getting the message out there. To date, the campaign has achieved more than 500,000 online advertising impressions across a broad range of internet sites.
The campaign now enters its next phase of thanking supporters who have registered on the website www.buyaussietimberfirst.com.au and uploaded positive messages. These supporters, mainly builders and carpenters, are going in a draw to win BATF merchandise to wear on their worksites.
Supporting “Buy Local” is an increasingly strong Australian community sentiment and is viewed by the majority of everyday Aussies as a practical way to limit, and recover from, the negative impacts of COVID and bushfires on Australian businesses and livelihoods.
Pleasingly, the demand for timber products in Australia have held up to this point given the existing work in the pipeline, the positive impact of government residential building stimulus programs, and also the support for Aussie sourced and made timber products.
However, it’s not a time for complacency as we still confront major economic challenges in the coming year. The BATF campaign acknowledges the ongoing role of timber product imports but clearly asks that customers support Aussie timber during these unprecedented times.
“We are very respectful of customers’ timber framing buying decisions and want to encourage the use of Australian timber framing for Aussie homes now. Our message to ‘Buy Aussie Timber First’ reinforces the best outcome for Australia’s future given timber’s ultimate renewable and environmental credentials; including being a carbon store,” said Mr Matthew.
BATF clearly links back to the original ‘Timber Framing, The Ultimate Renewable’ messaging campaign. Compared to other alternate building materials, renewable timber framing’s advantages are clearly recognised across the Australian supply chain, with its associated benefits of prefabrication and flexibility in building for renovations being widely understood by Australian builders.
Three practical workshops set up for ForestTECH 2020Registrations to this year’s ForestTECH 2020 event running in Rotorua on 18-19 November this year continue to pour in. As previously reported, ForestTECH 2020 is being run this year as both a physical conference along with exhibitions in Rotorua, New Zealand as well as a live streaming programme to a wide cross section of Australian and international delegates.
In addition to the changed format for delivery, for the first time, the well-established two-day event has been broken into two themes, the first being advances being made in remote sensing, data capture and forest inventory which has been the focus since the annual technology event’s inception back in 2007.
The second theme will be focussing on mechanised planting and automated silviculture. European technologies are already well advanced and are being trialled on flatter terrain by some of the larger forestry companies in New Zealand and Australia. Full details of the programme for both days can be viewed here.
As an extra to those who will be attending the Rotorua event in person, three workshops or meetings have been set to capitalise on those travelling into Rotorua.
1. The first is a two-hour focussed workshop being run by Eagle Technology at the conference venue on the morning of Tuesday 17 November. It will provide an updated overview of the ArcGIS platform (10.8.1) and a focus on GIS insights and location intelligence powered by drone flight data with ArcGIS. Limits on numbers of delegates have been set.
2. The second is a half-day Remote Sensing Cluster Group meeting that’s being run on the afternoon of Tuesday 17 November. The meeting will combine recent research focussing on tree detection and forest health with a presentation around developing a sector-wide strategy to bring the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) to small and large forest growers. The second part of the meeting will be presenting a series of talks to launch a new working group focussed on tech transfer of UAV related research to industry. Further information can be obtained by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also find attached an outline of the planned programme.
3. A half-day demo and workshop on the Hovermap LiDAR simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technology which is being used for collecting very detailed stem data under canopy, is also being run by Interpine and Emesent following the conference and exhibitions on the morning of Friday 20 November. Numbers will need to be limited for this practical workshop.
Information on the three workshops running in and around the ForestTECH 2020 event in Rotorua can be read here
Full details on the planned two-day ForestTECH 2020 event can also be seen here.
Timberlink commits carbon reduction targetsTimberlink’s carbon reduction targets have been verified and approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). Using FY18 as a base year Timberlink will commit to reduce scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 21% per m3 of throughput by 2030. Timberlink further commits to reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 53% per m3 of throughput by 2030. The target boundary includes biogenic emissions and removals from bioenergy feedstocks.
Timberlink’s CEO Ian Tyson said that the “scope 1 and 2 commitment is aligned with the more ambitious 1.5°C of warming target, rather than the base target of well below 2°C of warming set down in the Paris Agreement. Making us a leader in our industry, something which we are very proud of.”
Greenhouse gas emissions are broken down into three scopes. Scope 1, from direct emissions such as fuel used in forklifts; Scope 2, from indirect emissions from purchased electricity; and Scope 3, from indirect emissions from supply chain sources including log harvest and haulage, downstream haulage and the processing of sold products.
The overall target is to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions by 21% per m3 of throughput by 2030. Embedded within that target are a commitment to reduce combined scope 1 and 2 emissions by 53% per m3 and to reduce scope 3 emissions by 20% per m3 throughput by 2030. Mr Tyson explained that “Timberlink is able to commit to significantly greater reductions in scopes 1 and 2 as they are under our direct control.”
SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets. These targets must be aligned with the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Timberlink’s Chair, David Brand, noted, “This is a significant achievement for Timberlink with the approval of its SBT. As a portfolio company of the New Forests’ Australia New Zealand Forest Fund, Timberlink not only leads the way for New Forests’ investments as we work toward SBTs appropriate to the forestry asset class but is showing true industry leadership in how the wood products manufacturing sector can align with the Paris Agreement and deliver on its potential as a key part of a low-carbon economy. Congratulations to the Timberlink team for this accomplishment and all the hard work that went into it.”
The target has been officially endorsed by the SBTi. The SBTi is a collaboration between not-for-profit CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Certification for all Australian forests neededLeading forestry experts have called for the certification of all Australian forests to find out how well our forests, including national parks and reserves, are managed. Consultant Rob de Fegeley AM and Ric Sinclair, managing director of Forest and Wood Products Australia, said all forest management in Australia, including conservation reserves and small forest holdings, should be independently certified under internationally recognised sustainability criteria.
Currently, only production forests are certified. Mr de Fegeley has had numerous forestry leadership positions, including chair of the Forest Industry Advisory Council, which urged the federal government to push for full certification. Mr Sinclair, who spoke in a personal capacity and not as FWPA chief, reiterated what he said at a major forestry conference eight years ago.
Mr de Fegely said the FIAC supported the global independent certification bodies, PEFC, whose Australian body is Responsible Wood, and the Forest Stewardship Council, which had already certified production in native forests and plantations.
Mr Sinclair said during the past 30 years, large areas of forest had been set aside in reserves, with no mechanism to assess whether reserves were achieving the desired for conservation outcome. "FSC and Responsible Wood (previously Australian Forestry Standard) have the potential to certify forest reserve management practices and provide confidence that the reserves are being appropriately managed," he said.
Mr de Fegely said more was known about production forestry than forest area outside production. Certification would inform a whole-of-landscape approach that would include water quality and catchment, biodiversity, invasive pests, weed and disease risk, and the potential effects of future climate and fire regimes.
"It would ensure equitable treatment of forests in a tenure-blind manner, and measurement and monitoring of management objectives for all forests," he said.
Timber company cleared of any contract breachesOne of Australia's largest integrated commercial plantation companies has been found to be fully compliant with domestic log supply and export lease conditions following an independent government-commissioned audit.
It was the first independent probe into the operations of South Australian-based company OneFortyOne since it purchased 110,000 hectares of radiata pine plantation harvesting rights from the South Australian Government.
The audit findings come amid ongoing concerns from some sections of the forestry industry over thousands of tonnes of wood fibre being exported through deep-sea ports at Melbourne and Portland bound for China by multiple Green Triangle plantation growers.
OneFortyOne — headquartered at Mount Gambier — operates one of the largest softwood sawmills in Australia, employs hundreds of people, and has dozens of contractors.
Department of Primary Industries and Regions forestry director Rob Robinson said the independent audit was conducted by BDO Advisory (SA) in partnership with specialist forest sector advisory firm Indufor.
"The audit found that OneFortyOne complied in all material respects with Plantation Lease Agreement requirements in regard to domestic timber supply and exports for 2018," Mr Robinson said. "The lease identifies that sawlogs must be offered to the local market before they can be exported."
Since OneFortyOne purchased the lease in 2012, Mr Robinson said the volume of timber flowing to domestic processors increased by more than 50 per cent. He said the audit did not trigger any alarm bells for the department.
Timber Design Awards showcase timber ingenuityAustralia’s annual Timber Design Awards, which show off the latest structures and furniture using milled or engineered wood as the lead material, have always been a reliably interesting forum for checking out what’s going down – or up – in the latest application of one of nature’s loveliest materials.
But as revealed in this year’s 101 entries across 25 categories – from stand-alone installations to big commercial buildings largely made of, or lined with, wood in some sort of iteration – a material once restricted to being milled into planks, veneers, particle boards or poles can now be applied to be so apparently fluid that it can make spaces with all manner of curvy volumes.
As the Timber Development Association’s long-time chief executive Andrew Dunn says, “I’ve given up trying to define what the end possibilities of timber are because as soon as we say ‘that can’t be done’, someone will come up with a machine that can do it.” The awards had just a couple of categories when they were started by the association two decades ago to demonstrate the excellence of timber.
With the explosion of possibilities made available by computers that can be programmed “to so accurately, [relatively] cheaply and easily form shapes from big slabs of wood”, says Dunn, this year’s 21st awards show how excited architects, designers, cabinet makers and builders are in being aided to make things that go so far beyond boxy shapes that the envelope of limitations has been detonated.
While five judges, including last year’s overall winner James Fitzpatrick of fitzpatrick + partners, got to select the best in each category – and as always Australia’s best designers and makers eagerly lined up against talented small-scale creatives – the public also gets to adjudge the spectacular 2020 line-up of entries to select their “People’s Choice” winner.
Dunn says the overall winner is a highly prized accolade in the industry, but second for the entrants is to be named as the people’s choice best in show. “And like the packing room prize of the Archibald [portrait] prize, normally the people’s choice is not what the judges choose. The people look at it differently.”
Having been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presentation of the awards has been pushed back to late November and will be made available on the night via YouTube. Public voting for the people’s choice award closes on September 30. Details on the awards and voting can be found here.
Source: Commercial Real Estate
Call for comment on AU/NZ Forestry StandardsPublic comment is being sought on a revised draft for the Australian / New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management – AS / NZS 4708
The Australian / New Zealand Standard, along with the Australian Standard for Chain of Custody for Forest Products (AS 4707) was developed by Responsible Wood and are key components of the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme (RWCS). AS / NZS 4708 underpins the endorsement of the PEFC sustainable forest management certification scheme operating in New Zealand.
“The Responsible Wood Certification Scheme is recognised as a world leading certification scheme for natural and plantation forests,” said the Chairman of the Standard Reference Committee, Dr Gordon Duff. “The Committee includes a broad range of organisations in Australia and New Zealand involved in the forest management, forest research, auditing, government, community, environmental, indigenous and labour unions.”
“These organisations are keen to get public feedback on how the revised Standard can be further improved.” The Committee invites public comment on the draft standard. Comments should be submitted by 23rd of October 2020, preferably using the submission form available from Responsible Wood.
The review process is being undertaken in accordance with Standards Australia procedures, Responsible Wood is accredited as a Standards Development Organisation (SDO) and is accredited to develop Australian and New Zealand Standards in accordance with the standards development procedures.
The Responsible Wood Certification Scheme, of which AS 4708 is a key component, is accredited by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). PEFC is the world’s largest certification system for sustainable forest management. The Standard Reference Committee has sought to ensure that the revised standard (AS/NZS 4708) continues to be consistent with PEFC endorsement requirements.
The Draft Standard and submission form can be downloaded from the Responsible Wood website.
For more information about the revision of the Australian and New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management please contact: Simon Dorries (CEO - Responsible Wood) on email email@example.com.
Source: Responsible Wood
Responding to wood dust exposure regulationsNew research is aimed at preparing the forest and wood products industry to best respond to potential revised regulations around wood dust exposure levels.
Operations across the timber supply chain, including sanding, sawing, cross cutting and drilling, all have the potential to create wood dust. In response to research strongly associating wood dust in the workplace with health issues like cancer, occupational asthma and atopy (or a tendency to develop allergic diseases), Australian regulations exist to keep exposure to wood dust in the workplace at a safe level.
“In recent times, Safe Work Australia has made changes to similar regulations around crystalline silica dust and coal dust,” said Dr Roger Meder, Principal at Meder Consulting, which undertook the recent FWPA-commissioned research. “It is inevitable therefore, that wood dust exposure levels will be reviewed in the near future, meaning changes to regulations may be on the way.”
One important element of the project was an extensive literature review, which focused on current regulations around the world, and how Australia compares. There is particular interest in the distinctions between regulations relating to hardwood and softwood dust.
“Traditionally, exposure to hardwood dust in the air has been considered more harmful than softwood dust,” explained Meder. “Surprisingly, the literature review did not reflect this widely-held assumption. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest there is actually little difference between the harmful effects of hardwood and softwood dust.
“Attention should instead be paid to the particle size of the dust, regardless of whether it has originated from hardwood or softwood, as science suggests a small amount of fine dust is more harmful than a greater amount of dust containing larger particles.
“This is likely due to the potential for smaller, respirable dust particles to penetrate deeper into the lungs, and even make their ways into the bloodstream. Larger particles meanwhile, tend to get trapped in the nasal cavity, meaning they have less potential to cause long-term respiratory harm, although nasal cancers and work-related asthma may result.
“Unsurprisingly, sanding operations tend to produce both the greatest volume of dust, and also dust with the smallest sized particles. Exposure levels recorded for sander operators often exceed the regulated occupational exposure level (OEL) by several times.”
Source: FWPA Forwood
Bayer settles thousands of U.S. Roundup casesBayer AG has settled thousands of U.S. Roundup weed killer lawsuits as part of an US$11 billion settlement, reaching deals with the only lawyers who took cases to trial over allegations the herbicide caused cancer. In letters filed with U.S. District Court in San Francisco, three lawyers said they had reached binding settlements of their cases.
The settlements covered 15,000 lawsuits, according to an attorney familiar with the talks. Bayer has estimated it faces 125,000 filed and unfiled claims over Roundup. Bayer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Boost for technology to detect wildfiresInventors of a system which can detect bushfires in minutes will share in more than AU$5 million from the Morrison Government to roll out the technology here at home and overseas. Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Fireball International’s innovative sensor system is among 12 projects being backed to take on new local and international markets.
“As Australians, we know all too well the human and financial cost of bushfires and this technology will be a game-changer in quickly detecting and extinguishing them,” Minister Andrews said. “Fireball International’s system allows for fires to be reported to emergency services in as quick as three minutes and it has already been successfully identifying blazes and alerting authorities in the United States.
“Fireball International will use its $500,000 in funding to roll-out its detection system across Australia as well as other countries overseas. Fireball International is headquartered at the Peregian Beach Digital Hub, which earlier this year rolled out a commercialisation program ‘FireTech 2020’ with the support of the Morrison Government.
For further information on the company or technology, Click here
US appeals WTO lumber imports rulingThe United States said on Monday that it had appealed a World Trade Organization ruling that favoured Canada in a longstanding battle over lumber imports, describing the decision as "deeply flawed". The WTO's dispute settlement body (DSB) -- long a target of attacks by Washington -- agreed last month with Canada's complaints that Washington had violated trade rules when imposing duties on lumber widely used in construction.
US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer had immediately slammed the decision as "erroneous" and said they "prevent the United States from taking legitimate action in response to Canada's pervasive subsidies for its softwood lumber industry." And on Monday, the US notified the body of its decision to appeal the panel report, according of a written version of comments made to a DSB meeting.
Filing an appeal before the WTO is tricky, however: the DSB's appellate branch, sometimes called the supreme court of world trade, stopped functioning last December after years of relentless US opposition. Washington accuses the court of major overreach and has blocked appointments of new judges, leaving it without the quorum needed to hear cases.
By filing an appeal with nowhere for the appeal to be heard, Washington has in effect blocked Canada's ability to move forward and request financial compensation for the US activities deemed illegal by the DSB. "We are open to discussions with Canada on the way forward in this dispute," a US representative told Monday's meeting.
The DSB report last month upheld most of Ottawa's complaints against the US, saying Washington's claims the government was providing illegal subsidies to lumber producers were based on miscalculated prices and transactions like purchase of electricity that did not qualify as subsidies.
It was the ninth complaint filed by Ottawa over Washington's use of anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures -- long the subject of anger from American trading partners. In the latest battle in the 40-year-old dispute, the US in 2017 imposed import duties of 18 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports to compensate for what it said was "dumping" of the product, meaning it was sold below market prices and received government subsidies, thereby hurting US producers.
USTR said imports of softwood lumber products from Canada in 2016 totalled $5.78 billion.
For further coverage on this story click here
Source: brecorder.com, cbc.ca
Cellulosic solution for face masksA Canadian forest sector research and development organization said it's close to coming up with a completely homegrown, sustainable solution to replace disposable plastic masks. FP Innovations said its researchers have developed a filter for a biodegradable, disposable face mask made from wood fibre that performs better than single-use personal masks made from petroleum-based plastics.
The Canadian organization said it's successfully developed a cellulosic filter media, with the middle layer of a three-layer mask made from wood fibres, which is suitable for single-use face masks for public use. The cellulosic filter media is made from a blend of hardwood and softwood fibres.
The average filtration efficiency of its filter media is currently at 60 per cent, FP Innovations said, surpassing the average filtration efficiency of a typical cloth mask which is approximately 30 per cent. The firm asserts the Canadian pulp and paper industry could meet the mask procurement needs of this country "within weeks" without having to retool production lines and make large investments in new equipment.
It could also provide "significant export opportunities" that could be developed within very short timelines. FP Innovations believes this also solves a growing environmental problem that the demand for disposable plastic masks has created.
With funding for Natural Resources Canada, the Quebec-based non-for-profit research centre said it came up with the solution within eight weeks. The next step in their research is coming up a fully, biodegradable, disposable mask made from Canadian wood fibres for domestic, and possibly global, use.
Source: timminstoday.com, Photo: FP Innovations
... and one to end the week on ... questions
The following questions were set in last year's GED examination
These are genuine answers (from 16 year olds)............and they WILL breed.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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